Sharon Morrill, president of DisneyToon Studios, has stepped down from her post, where she had been responsible for producing direct-to-video sequels of the Disney Co.'s animated features. She will do special projects for Disney.
ANIMATION WORLD MAGAZINE reported on March 28, 2007, that it was the end of the line for Disney direct-to-video sequels and how the studio was moving forward under the new corporate climate with Ed Catmull and John Lasseter at the helm.
The sequels used to cost around $10 million and earn at least $100 million. But costs have steadily increased while profits went down. Lassetter reportedly also has called into question the creative merits of sequels.
In an inter-Disney email supplied to AWN, Morrill writes,
"DisneyToon Studios has gone through a lot of transitions in the last couple of years. We have had some time to assess our business now that John and Ed are on board and we have all agreed that I will step aside from my role as President of DisneyToon Studios.
I enjoyed 15 wonderful years working for the Walt Disney Company. And I've had the privilege of working with so many talented people such as you. Thank you."
Morrill began the division in 2001 to extended Disney's animated franchises and oversaw satellite studios in other countries which contributed to the production of many titles, such as PIGLET'S BIG MOVIE, POOH'S HEFFALUMP MOVIE, THE JUNGLE BOOK 2 and THE TIGGER MOVIE along with home video titles, such as BAMBI II, BROTHER BEAR 2, LION KING 2: SIMBA'S PRIDE, LADY AND THE TRAMP 2, POOH'S GRAND ADVENTURE and LION KING 1-1/2.
TINKER BELL, five years in the making, has been through numerous creatives and production chiefs and a billowing budget according to sources.
The Disney Co. has no comment for the time being.